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CHINA: Would you consider that the programs of the Hundred Days Reform in 1898 were too idealistic to be successful? Justify your answer.

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Introduction

Would you consider that the programs of the Hundred Days Reform in 1898 were too idealistic to be successful? Justify your answer. China faced a series of defeat since the First Anglo-Chinese War. After being defeated by Japan in the Sino-Japanese War in 1895, foreign imperialism accelerated as the weaknesses of the Qing government were increasingly evident to the foreign powers. The political-conscious intellectuals now regarded reform not of academic interest but boiling urgency. The programs of the Hundred Days Reform were not too idealistic in fact; its failure was due to other factors, such as weaknesses in leadership. Immanuel Tsu remarked "China at 1898 stood at a turning point in history: whereas success of reform could stave off the breakup, failure could mean the extinction of dynasty." The objective of the reform was to save China from the ever-increasing foreign imperialism. A reform was said to be successful if it could realize its goals and objectives. Even though China still faced foreign imperialism after the Hundred Days Reform, a closer look can tell us that the reform programs were quite comprehensive compared to that of Self-Strengthening Movement. ...read more.

Middle

Militarily, the reform programs aimed at strengthening the military strength to resist foreign imperialism. The reformers were no longer as idealistic as their forerunners in the previous reform, they understood that military strengthening could never be achieved by merely adopting western guns and canons, more have to be done. They set up military schools and set up a new army and navy trained by western methods. They had more foresight in the modern world and were not all idealistic in the reform. Socially different reform programs tried to tackle various problems in education, social aspect, etc. Modern schools which combined Chinese and Western learning were set up, more students were sent abroad to study, the eight-legged essay was abolished, an imperial university was set up in Beijing. People were allowed to petition to the Emperor directly. They were given the right to assembly. These programs were down-to-earth as they focused on the inadequacies of China's situation and sought method to tackle them. ...read more.

Conclusion

As Cixi still had a firm grasp of control both politically and militarily, her showdown was a death warrant to the reform. Yu and Scalpino remarked, "The reform was doomed to fail at a time when the balance of power, both politic and military, was still with the traditionalists at the highest level." Moreover, the reformers were too idealistic and had not real understanding of power politics. Kang and Liang were southern scholars who had no political experience. They didn't understand the political intricacies of the metropolitan government, thus they were easily defeated when Tuan Shi-kai betrayed them. Guangxu had no actual power also, or he wouldn't have asked Yuan for help. In short, the reform programs were not idealistic. It was the reformers who were too idealistic to think that they could carry out the reform and overcome the obstacles Cixi put before them. A further proof that showed the programs were not idealistic was presented in the Late Qing Reform, which put many of the reform programs of the Hundred Days Reform into actions and even to a more radical extent. ...read more.

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